Promises2Kids -- $50,000 Ensure Every Foster Child Has Access to Education and a Career Path
Through their Guardian Scholars program, Promises2Kids provides individualized and group support designed to help current and former foster youth graduate from high school and focus on post-secondary school life. They are counseled and supported in their choice of vocational training/related careers, community college, or four-year university degrees. Recently, they have been attempting to intervene at an earlier age, by connecting the youth with career-focused training and apprenticeships and increasing the number of peer and adult mentors who are trained and ready to support their transition from care to independence. Promises2Kids estimated that 30 students would be directly impacted by a $50,000 RSF Women’s Fund grant.
For the academic year that ended in June 2023, Guardian Scholars served 267 post-secondary youth. Of these young adults, 29 graduated from a four-year university, 4 completed a vocational/certificate program, and 208 are continuing their educational pursuits – for a success rate of 86%.
Additionally, they served 74 high school youth, including 17 students residing at San Pasqual Academy. Of the total number, 25 graduated, and of these, 23 will continue as Guardian Scholars,pursuing their post-secondary education. The other 42 will continue to work with Promises2Kids, which will support their academic plan to finish high school and engage in an education and career path. The remaining 7 students have moved and are no longer eligible for services.
During the 2022-23 grant year, P2K hired their first Manager for the Youth2Youth Advocates program, which provides peer mentoring to youth still in the foster care system. This program currently employs 12 former foster youth, many of whom are also Guardian Scholars, thereby providing these young adults with a source of income, professional and personal development, and work experience while they are pursuing their post-secondary goals. Simultaneously, it ensures that the youth still in care have mentors who have successfully transitioned to independence.
Due to a major shortage in behavioral mental health professionals, the most significant obstacle continues to be providing sufficient access to resources for these youth. To help address this, Promises2Kids is going to hire at least one clinical therapist who will work with the newly created Mentoring Department. This new department will bring added skill and attention to the identification and recruitment of volunteer mentors and will provide the critical component of ongoing training and support to empower them as they work with youth The hope is that this, combined with the Youth2Youth Advocates program mentioned above will provide the youth with multiple opportunities for guidance and mentorship.
To read about the impact of this program from two recent graduates, click here.